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Weather Affecting Your Mental Health?

Why, How and What You Can do About it…. 


Can you believe it? We are already entering month ‘four’ of the year. Did you do like most and make resolutions to help become a better version of yourself? Me too! I’ve had to make some adjustments though.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s very common for residents to struggle with “Winter Blues,” or its more severe relative, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD, is a type of depression caused by changes in the weather. 

Did you know that SAD can actually occur for people in both the winter and the summer seasons. As one can imagine, the winter pattern is more commonly known by its depressive traits, whereas the summer pattern has more anxious features.

COMMON FEATURES OF SUMMER PATTERN OF SAD

  • Agitation or irritability

  • Insomnia, difficulty falling/staying asleep

  • Eating less than normal, decreased appetite

  • Restlessness

  • Increased symptoms of anxiety

  • Possible violent or erratic behavior

COMMON FEATURES OF WINTER PATTERN OF SAD

  • Lower energy than normal

  • Oversleeping, difficulty waking up

  • Overeating, increased appetite

  • Craving carbohydrates (breads, pastas, sugars)

  • Social withdrawal or isolation

  • Gaining weight




While to-date, there is no "cure" for SAD, there are certainly effective ways to relieve the symptoms: 

  • Therapy- an excellent option for relieving the symptoms and overcoming the barriers it may have placed in your life.

  • Therapy can help increase mood and motivation, while also discovering roots to some of the negative feelings you have been having.

  • Light therapy- a common mode of treatment that involves exposing yourself to a "light box" for up to an hour a day

  • Light boxes are often UV-blocking lights that mimic sunshine. This can help with your circadian rhythm, essentially helping your brain boost its ability to create pleasure.

  • There are many medications and supplements on the market that claim to relieve symptoms. Some may be a right fit for you while others may not be.

  •  It’s vital that you do your due diligence and consult with your primary care provider before taking any new medications or supplements. 

Knowledge is power and practice is key. The days are getting longer now and we are seeing more sunshine; I encourage you now to get out there and enjoy yourself along with those around you and find comfort in knowing you have the power, courage and tools to transition your way to a better and healthier you.

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